A Slice of Orange

“Wonderful, absorbing, mesmerizing - a gift."

Satya Franklin, author of The Promise of Paradise: A Woman's Intimate Story of the Perils of Life with Rajneesh and other books about Rajneesh

A Slice of Orange is a lively memoir about the journey into - and out of - a utopian community that went horribly wrong. Nicola Ranson’s adventures take us from a conservative Canadian convent, across the Sahara Desert, through magic, meditation and mystical theatre until she lands at the Rajneesh ashram in India where she participates in her first naked encounter group.

When Rajneesh and his followers resettle in the US, Nicola joins their controversial commune in rural Oregon. In 1985, she is on security duty during the FBI raid which uncovers evidence of the largest bioterrorist attack in modern American history. Her life implodes as she realizes she is no longer a naïve spiritual explorer but the object of FBI surveillance.

Devastated, Nicola leaves the cult and rebuilds her life. She returns to university, trains as a psychotherapist, and learns how all of us are subject to influence, control, and the mysterious allure of love.

With humor, sensitivity, and keen observation, Nicola deftly pulls the reader into her journey showing the appeal of idealism and belonging, and what it takes to recover from an "us versus them" mentality.


“Ranson’s memoir is one helluva ride! Revealing, but self-reflective. Chock full of gripping detail.”

Janja Lalich, Ph.D., Professor Emerita of Sociology at California State University, Chico, international authority on cults, author of Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships

A Slice of Orange is in search of a publisher.

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“A Slice of Orange is one of the most evocative, clear-eyed, and empathetic memoirs I've read from Rajneesh's disciples."

Russell King, author of Rajneeshpuram: Inside the Cult of Bhagwan and Its Failed American Utopia and creator of the podcast Building Utopia: Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh



"The Visit" is an excerpt from A Slice of Orange. It one of the short stories featured in Shaking the Tree Vol. 3. This video of “The Visit” is a reading/performance by Tara Sampson which took place at the 2019 Memoir Showcase at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach, CA. Watch it through to the end to see the interview of Nicola Ranson and Tara Sampson.

These two Shaking the Tree anthologies have published excerpts from Nicola Ranson's memoir, A Slice of Orange.

Shaking the Tree Vol. 3 is an anthology of the winning entries in the 2019 Memoir Showcase. The excerpt from Nicola Ranson’s memoir, A Slice of Orange is “The Visit,” about her parents’ visit to see her at the commune known as Rajneeshpuram in 1984.

Shaking the Tree Vol. 4 is a winner of the 2023 BookFest contest! Nicola Ranson’s contribution is "Casablanca Asylum", a dramatic excerpt from her memoir, A Slice of Orange.

All Shaking the Tree proceeds go to the San Diego Memoir Writers Association, a community of local writers committed to the craft and business of memoir writing.